Collaboration is the key to tackling the growing affordable housing crisis

Future of London hosts its annual conference on affordable housing at a critical time when the prospect of a major housing market readjustment is putting the viability of schemes across the capital in question.

The conference, Affordable Housing: Overcoming crisis through collaboration (5 October 2022), focuses on public/partnerships and funding models for affordable housing, which are crucial to increasing housing supply in uncertain times.

Tackling the affordable housing shortage in London remains the number one challenge for urban professionals working with and for local authorities. The continuing demand for homes across all tenures in London and the retrofit requirement to meet net-zero targets add to the pressure.

However, Helen Hodgson, Director of Value for Money of the National Audit Office, will present findings from the NAO’s recent report, The Affordable Homes Programme since 2015, which found that that investment in social rent in London leads to significant savings in housing benefit costs over the long term.

This contrasts with most other English regions, where delivering a new home for social rent will increase housing benefit bill as the costs of additional households exceed the savings from lower rents.

Lyn Garner (pictured), Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation and Senior Professional Lead for Housing Delivery at the Greater London Authorities (GLA), will highlight the additional challenges facing leaders in the built environment. These include growing numbers of insecure jobs; the cost of living rises and fuel poverty; and the recent dramatic increase in borrowing costs.

So, with the barriers to housebuilding growing, what can be done? Future of London is the independent network for the built environment that enables urban professionals to share innovative solutions to the next wave of challenges.

As the Chair of Future of London, Lyn Garner is fully aware of the scale of the challenge in London.

“We will need to be innovative in the use of public land, where public ownership working with private investors may offer the best chance of delivering schemes that increase supply while remaining viable for investors at this challenging time for the property market,” she says.

“London boroughs and the GLA need to even more work closely together to maximise the impact of the affordable housing grant including reducing the risk for private sales to ensure developers do not retreat from the current market.”

Picking up the theme of collaboration, the conference programme enables delegates to learn about actionable approaches to joined up working from practitioners with a proven track record of delivery, including:

  • partnership models for the public an private sector
  • innovations in collaborative finance
  • collaborative approaches to housing allocations
  • collaborating with communities

For some perspective on the challenge, a session called Lessons from London to Lagos will enable Olu Olanrewaju, Director of Altair International to draw on his experience leading UK housing associations and launching an affordable housing company in Africa.

The final session called Housing 2030: an Ambition for the future will provide a call to action to delegates to find innovative ways to join forces to tackle London’s housing

Nicola Mathers, Chief Executive of Future of London, says:

“Social housing providers and commercial investors already face major challenges in delivery affordable housing on the scale needed in London. The possibility of a major property market adjustment only makes their job harder.

“Our conference will recognise the hard realities of creating more affordable housing in London, while remaining optimistic that we can find innovative ways to create viable schemes and meet the needs of low-income households.

“If we don’t, the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people will continue to be blighted. We want to make sure that everyone who comes to our conference goes back to their organisation enthused, inspired, and ready to make some changes!”

Thank you to our sponsors

Affordable housing programme sponsors

Conference sponsors